Healthy Menopause Meal Plan, What to Eat for Symptoms

Healthy Menopause Meal Plan, What to Eat for Symptoms

Healthy Menopause Meal Plan, What to Eat for Symptoms.

The best time to prepare for menopause is when you start your menstrual cycle.  The next best time is now!

Whether you are pre-menopause, peri-menopause or post-menopause, what you eat will have a massive impact on your menopause symptoms.

This is because what you eat affects you mentally and physically.  It can cause stress or soothe.

It may come as no surprise to you that the most frequently asked question I get is;

“What is the best diet plan for menopause?”

The answer to this is as unique as every menopause journey.

However, the foundation is the same, so if you are interested in creating a menopause meal plan tailored to your unique symptoms, read on.

A Quick Overview

In case you are new to my blog, here is a quick menopause recap;

  • Menopause is a moment, the moment you realise you haven’t had a natural menstrual cycle for 12 months.
  • The average age of menopause is 51.
  • You can experience menopausal hormonal changes for 7-14 years.
  • This means women can start their journey to menopause in their mid-30s.
  • Menopause isn’t an illness to ‘cure’.  It is a natural shift similar to puberty.
  • There are 34 official menopause symptoms (plus many, many more unofficial).
  • 1 in 4 women experience zero symptoms.
  • Many women don’t realise some of the discomfort they are experiencing is due to menopausal hormone changes.
  • Menopause may be the end of your reproductive years but it is just the beginning of you finding and embracing your true self and wise power.

If you are experiencing annoying or downright debilitating menopause symptoms you may feel despair or desperation to try any solution being peddled on the internet.

Sadly there is no magic pill.

What I can promise you though is food, real food, will support you to address the root cause of your symptoms and get you on the path to feeling yourself again, or even better with a whole new zest for life.

Root Cause of Menopause Symptoms

Perimenopause symptoms can include mood changes, poor sleep quality, hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, low energy levels and weight management issues to name a very few.

The leading cause of death in women is Cardiovascular Disease closely followed by Dementia which is now being called Type 3 Diabetes in some circles due to research linking the malfunctioning of the brain with insulin resistance.

Many women experience what seem to be minor health issues such as underactive or overactive thyroid, high blood pressure or increased cholesterol levels for which they are prescribed drugs. Medication can cause side effects and can also impact the health of the liver and gut which can impact menopause symptoms.

Don’t stop taking medication unless approved by your doctor but you may be able to work together to control these issues naturally to reduce and no longer require medication over time.

As we age we experience a natural loss of muscle mass.  As oestrogen levels decline this can reduce bone density putting you at risk of osteoporosis.  Insulin resistance can decrease which increases the likelihood of menopausal weight gain.

Taking control of your menopausal transition as early as possible will relieve symptoms of menopause and protect your future health.

Not every woman can take or wants to take hormone replacement therapy which can resolve the root cause of declining hormone levels but this is only part of the story.

To truly get to the root cause of menopause symptoms and find relief you need to focus on a ‘healthy lifestyle’  and a ‘healthy diet’, but what are these?

Much of what we have been told over the past 60-70 years is ineffective and at worst damaging to long-term health.

Menopause Meal Plan ‘Don’ts’

We are extremely lucky to have easy access to scientific research data which backs up everything I will now share with you.  

Why is this information not widely shared?

  1. Money
  2. Power

If you can heal yourself naturally with food where would that leave the pharmaceutical industry?

Who started the saying ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day‘, Kellogs.

From the 1970s we were told that fat caused heart disease and that to avoid this we should eat a low-fat diet.  

The research at the time showed that once the Western diet changed to low fat the death rate from heart attacks decreased.  That’s great I hear you say, however, the rate of heart attacks didn’t decrease which suggests that advances in medicine were what were lowering the death from heart attack statistics.

Heart disease has only increased since the start of the low-fat era.  

Low Fat = High Carb (high sugar)

Whether your carbs come from starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, potatoes or rice, or non-starchy carbs such as fresh fruit, vegetables and salad the insulin that is released when you consume carbohydrates switches the fuel being burned in your body to sugar.  Too many years in this mode leads to insulin resistance.

Eat small meals often to keep your metabolism burning’ is another piece of advice I have followed over the years believing that If I didn’t eat every 2-3 hours my metabolism would stall.  I believed this to be right as I was genuinely hungry by the next meal or snack time, what I wasn’t doing was fueling my body in the right way.

Regular meals = regular insulin release.  Over a long period, this can lead to insulin resistance and increased body weight.

Calories in v’s Calories out.  What this equation doesn’t take into account is hormones and the type of food the energy comes from.  Calories in v’s calories out is just one of the many ways diet culture has disconnected us from what our body needs.

Most women going through perimenopause at this time experienced the ‘Waif’ body type of the 1990s.  With this era came the pressure to either conform to a certain body type or at least internalise the belief that thin is beautiful.  To achieve this look most women would have had to manipulate their food intake and disregard what their body needed, treating cravings like a flaw in their personality.

For years I didn’t eat avocados because I couldn’t afford the calorie intake. On one diet I followed I used the calories for a 200ml milk allowance for wine!  

Did I lose weight?  Yes.

Did it stay off? No.

Stop counting calories, points, syns or anything that stops you from listening to your body.

This might sound scary to a seasoned dieter but learning to eat intuitively will be the best thing you ever do for your physical and mental health.  However, it is a process and you have to be kind to yourself as you slowly undo all those years of restriction and food manipulation.  The result is freedom and a desire to nourish your body rather than find comfort in crap.

My last two don’t are;

  1. Don’t use seed oils, these are pro-inflammatory, check the labels of any packed foods you buy, you’ll be astounded!
  2. Don’t use artificial sweeteners, the chemicals contribute to insulin resistance and affect the health of your liver and gut.

Menopause Meal Plan ‘Do’s’

The good news is you can fill your menopause meal plan with so many amazing foods without restriction.

Above I asked what is a healthy lifestyle or healthy diet.  Here is my interpretation;

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet.  This should include enough protein, enough fibre and healthy fat from foods such as nuts, seeds, dairy products, oily fish and olive oil. Well-balanced meals and snacks will support blood sugar levels and help your body switch between sugar and fat burning.  What is enough protein or fibre for you?  Download my cheat sheets to take the guesswork out of your menopause meal plan, fibre cheat sheet, and protein cheat sheet.
  2. Make sure you have a variety of foods over a week.  Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from whole grains, leafy greens, dairy products and even chocolate support overall health and are best absorbed through food.
  3. If you honour your body, eat when it is hungry and stop when it is satisfied you won’t need to worry about portion sizes.
  4. Cook from scratch as much as you can.  Fast food can become a habit, we crave it because it is filled with chemicals that make it taste so delicious and becomes addictive.
  5. Make lifestyle changes slowly.  If you experience a setback just pick yourself up and carry on, this is not about starting again or falling off the wagon.  Your menopause meal plan is a plan for the whole family because it is filled with the best foods for everybody’s health.

Everyone is different, every family and lifestyle is different and every menopause journey is unique.

What I have discovered from my work and research is that the foundation of human health lies in the health of the;

  • Liver
  • Thyroid
  • Gut

Balancing blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation relieves menopause symptoms and improves overall health.

This is why I created the SHIFT System.  All my clients follow this pathway.  It adapts to each unique menopause journey putting you in control of your body and long-term health.  Understanding your body and the root cause of the symptoms you are experiencing supports you to work with your body rather than against it and that is an empowering feeling.

Do you need a little inspiration to get started? If so take a look at my done-for-you Springtime Nourished Menopause 4Week Meal Plan.

If you would like to chat with me about your unique menopause transition, book a Wild Well-Being call and come away inspired and motivated to begin your journey to optimal health.